Guatemala is great!
Cheaper than Mexico, people are kind and well, we smuggled A LOT of tequila with us! The driving kind of improved I think, traffic is fluent and nobody cares which way you pass them.
We rode into San Pedro de las Lagunas at night and found ourself a little base for the next days. We were supposed to wait for Jean and Zach, the two had to join us on the trip.
San Pedro was a weird place and to our surprise, the guys came the same day as we did. We took advantage of the smuggled tequila and went to dinner. Had the biggest plate of nachos in my life. That and the fact that everyone we met on the streets was obviously stoned, reinforced my opinion about the village.
Next day, waking up to the brightest, most glorious day so far, we learned this is a big party place. Young North Americans come here to enjoy relatively cheap drugs hassle free. I met a couple of girls who move here in winter for a couple of months to make their art and enjoy the relaxed ambiance. By art I mean the making of dream catchers and necklaces to sell to the wealthier North Americans.
I had a couple of memorable experiences there, but it was time to move. Our next stop was Antigua Guatemala. Beautiful little town that seems familiar even if it’s your first time you’re there.
Lots of European women and even more live music. The electric guitar kind of music. I like. But there, after just a couple of days of traveling together, my relationship with Jean started deteriorating very fast. Mostly I’d keep to myself and the European females, because I could see we don’t agree on some basic terms of this travel and life goals/morals in general. But whenever he’d get drunk, i.e. every evening he’d get angry at whatever I said and well, confrontational at time.
Long story short, this escalated till we parted our ways the day we left Antigua. Zach got a job in a restaurant, so he was staying there. So with Jean out of the picture and Zach staying in Guatemala, it was only me and William.
We decided we have to get to South America quick. Our boat was about to leave in 2 weeks and Colombia was much higher on our list than any country in Central America.
Ditto, we had to change country. Honduras or El Salvador? After spending about half an hour to list the pros and cons about El Salvador, we decided we’ll see this spooky country.
The border took us about 4 hours, but it was pleasant. Everyone was very nice and we had a good chat with the local authorities. Everyone was warning us about how dangerous it is in this country and despite not feeling in danger, it was obvious crime was a big deal here, because I’ve never seen so many guns on the street like in this country. Every single shop had bars on doors and windows and most of them had an armed security guy standing in the front.
We got to Santa Ana that night and we went straight to the Hostel Casa Verde, which was highly recommended to us by some travelers we met in Guatemala. Home sweet home is all I can say. Carlos, the owner, greeted us like we were some cousins of his that he hasn’t seen for about two weeks. Opened the garage, waved us in and got us some beer. How are you, how it’s going? I have to say we had no reservation and we never met Carlos, but from the first second I knew we’re staying there for longer than we planned.
Santa Ana is nice, but Casa Verde is home. And that’s because of the owner, who is slightly OCD, but in a relaxed way. The place is spotless and EVERY SINGLE THING is thought of. Pool, BBQ, 2 kitchens, lockers with integrated USB charging ports and you even have a box for your smelly socks! 10/10, best hostel/hotel I’ve been to in my life. Nothing too fancy, but just extremely practical.
Stayed there another 4 days, made some good friends and then we decided it’s time to see the Pacific Ocean. All of us, one way or the other, got to Playa del Tunco. Again, without exaggeration, home. But most important, was the way to there. The CA12S passing the volcano of Santa Ana is gorgeous. Riding up, past the volcano with some good views and even better bends. Not a whole lot of traffic for one of the main roads in the area too. We got to Los Cobanos for lunch on the beach and then rode to El Tunco on the coastal road. Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to ride much of El Salvador, but this was the best road so far. About 50kms of coastal road, sort of HWY1, but with light traffic and NO SPEED LIMITS. Great ride.
Playa El Tunco was a little piece of paradise that I’ll never forget and always wish to return to. Peaceful, nice, good surf and cool people. It’s a small village, with just the right ratio between locals and gringos. Needless to say, we stayed there longer than we thought…